By Dr. Nikita Naredi, India
Traveling to Kailash was never in my bucket list until a few years back. I had heard many experiences of various devotees and had even read the book, ‘Kailash with Mohanji’ in bits and parts. It was mesmerizing to read and hear about Kailash and the ‘Kailashis’ but nothing stirred me enough to consider my trip to Kailash; probably Shiva did not consider me eligible at that time. Kirti Khandelwal, a beautiful member of Mohanji Family from Pune would always nudge me, “Didi, you must go to Kailash,” and I would brush it aside thinking I am not physically or psychologically fit enough.
It was again in 2018, I had to go on an official trip to Rajasthan for a fortnight when Kirti reminded me about considering my trip to Kailash. She also asked me to read the book ‘Inner Kora’ which is a compilation of the experiences written by the devotees who were fortunate enough to circumambulate the inner Kora of Kailash along with Mohanji. She thought that reading the book would inspire me to consider the Kailash yatra as it had done to so many others. Incidentally, I had this book with me since the 2017 Rishikesh retreat where Mohanji himself had blessed and given me this book; but I could somehow never even open the book till then. So, the book accompanied me during this Rajasthan tour of duty. Once I started reading the book, I found it fascinating and in no time I was devouring page after page. As I was nearing the end of the book, the yearning to be there in Kailash was taking shape inside me. By the time I finished the testimonials of the other ‘Kailashis’, this yearning had turned into a resolution. My mind was all ready to be a part of this ‘Journey of a lifetime: Kailash with Mohanji.’ I believe that this was my ‘inner calling.’
Having decided to be a part of this journey, the process was set into motion. Kailash being in China; I being in the Indian Armed Forces, official permission had to be sought to travel abroad. But, before this permission, the permission of our very own ‘Shiva’ had to be taken to confirm my eligibility to step on the holy land of Kailash. The permission came in the form of a reply to my text message to Mohanji – “Go ahead”. The grace flowed. The official permission was a cakewalk. It was much later that I was made aware of the application of one of my seniors who had also applied for a trek to Kailash, with some other group, which was promptly rejected. The grace really flowed for me.
With the actual dates of travel creeping in fast, came the excitement and also doubts. Excitement is self-explanatory, but doubt started filling me and consuming me. I was afraid. “Will I be able to manage the trip?” This was bolstered by the fact that I never considered myself to be physically fit and enduring. I could barely jog for a short distance before slowing down to a walk. But the resolution to give it my best shot prompted me to build up my stamina. I started my endurance building with long walks and jogs. But these runs were irregular both due to commitment at work and, at times, procrastination. The only regular thing I was doing in that period was ‘surrendering’. I would surrender to my Master, Mohanji, and to the Master of the Universe – Shiva. I would say, “If you have called me, I am sure it is only you who can make me sail through”. My husband and my daughter were also very supportive and encouraging throughout the preparation process and their role in my determination cannot be belittled.
Time flashed by and we were in Kathmandu on 5th August 2019 to commence our yatra. It all started with a beautiful evening ‘satsang’ with Mohanji and meeting the other enthusiasts from all over the world; a greater part of them not known but were soon going to become like family.
Being a doctor, my duty for the trip was assigned and I was briefed by Dhritiman Biswas, whom we fondly know as DB, about my role as a doctor to the group. He also made a statement that day, “Your hands are going to be really full as we proceed”. I really didn’t understand the weight that the casual statement carried till I finished my Kailash Parikrama.
The ensuing day at Kathmandu visiting temples and bonding with the other co-travelers was indeed joyful. The helicopter ride to cross the border was mesmerising but the long road journeys on the bus and staying at different destinations every other night was getting all of us out of our comfort zones.
We reached Keyrung through an exciting helicopter ride and the Indian pilgrims were fortunate to reach a day earlier as the crossing-over formalities were smoother. We rested and relaxed before our international counterparts joined us the next day. The highlight of this stay was the impromptu satsang with Mohanji which commenced at 9:30 pm at night and culminated at 00:30! What a beautiful session we had; questions answered and blessings showered.
The arduous journey was yet to begin. As we ascended in altitude and the long drives on the bus started, many of us started getting sick. Motion sickness, headaches, nausea: a few ailments which were common to all. I was not immune to any of these (doctors get ill too) but an invisible grace and energy kept me going and encouraged me to help people with small and big ailments. The altitude was already taking a toll on all of us and this was evident at Saga. Along with Riana, a beautiful soul from South Africa who had participated twice before in this sacred journey, I took a round of all the rooms checking on everyone. Some were down with headaches, some with breathlessness and others anorexic. The whole group was spread all over the hotel on different floors and believe me; we both were going from one room to another without any difficulty. The ‘voltage’ for this was being provided by the source. My responsibility as a medical care-giver to the Kailash family was very different from the specialty I practice, but what I was doing at that moment felt new but strangely familiar. A feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment had already settled in, not knowing what lay ahead.
Another arduous journey with both morale and health going up and down, we reached the banks of Mansarovar: Our first destination…
In spite of the happiness and satisfaction of landing on the holy land; most of the group members were not really well that night. I was called by Mohanji, instructed to take a round of all the rooms and meet all the members of our family and look into their health. Most of them were under the effects of high altitude and the resultant hypoxia. The oxygen levels of a few were really down and we administered oxygen to them. The altitude was already taking a toll on a few. The next morning everyone was very excited about the dip in the holy lake: a dream of every Hindu. However, due to the new policy by the Chinese government, we were prohibited to do so. We were sad but acceptance is what we have been imbibing since we joined the Mohanji family. We were all given our share of water to bathe and we loved every moment of it when all the members were helping each other with the ice-cold serene divine water chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya.’
In spite of the ups and downs, each of us was full of gratitude to the divine, and our Master for getting us to this holy soil and being with us physically and spiritually too. I was beckoned every now and then by my comrades due to their ill-health and never once did I get overwhelmed, moving from one place to the other. The purpose of writing this and reiterating the same facts is just to highlight that my journey to Kailash was for this larger purpose. Gratitude to my Master, my Guru. My first-aid kit which I was carrying with me was made full use of, and I was thanking my husband who is also a doctor for cajoling me to carry more of the medicines. Again, I don’t take any credit for this because I knew I was being facilitated and empowered by Mohanji to do this job. Had I ever imagined that my profession would be made use of at 18000 feet? Gratitude again to Shiva….
The next morning at Mansarovar I got up feeling really sick, feverish, splitting headache with hardly any energy. After freshening up, as I got out of my room, Rajesh Kamath told me, “Big Boss is calling you.” He meant Mohanji. His tone was not too assuring. I started wondering if I had faltered anywhere. Let me be frank; feeling a bit apprehensive, I went to Mohanji’s room. He looked at me and said, “Colonel, I want to tell something to you. Listen very carefully. You will be compassionate towards everyone when it comes to helping and treating people but you will not be sympathetic. Do what is correct and I am with you. Don’t listen to anyone when it comes to professional advice.” He was very stern when he said this. I did not understand an iota of the connotation of his words and just nodded in affirmation. He said again, “Do you understand?” I just said, “Yes.” I also told him that I was not feeling too great that morning. He said, “I know it.” He asked Ivana, a beautiful Mohanji Transformation Method practitioner, and an accomplished person, in an assertive tone to do a session for me and build a ‘Kavach’ (an armour) around me so that no negativities or physical strain affects me. Believe me, that Kavach was indeed an armour which made me last the entire Parikrama.
After Mansarovar, we were to embark on our most solicited journey: the trek around Mount Kailash. All excited, the whole group assembled at the ‘Yam Dwar’, which marks the starting point for the circumambulation. It is said that at this sacred site, we have to leave our past behind. As we cross it, we begin a new life all over again. Some on ponies and some on foot like a bunch of small kids embarked on the first day of the Parikrama. Everyone was assigned a pony and a porter to assist in the trek.
From now on, everyone had to be on their own, walking at their own pace; walking, soaking in Kailash, chanting mantras, or just being with themselves. The terrain was difficult but the view and the serenity were breath-taking. The other beautiful aspect was the bonding with the porter and the pony man. After a couple of breaks, the 12 km trek culminated in Dirapuk where we visualised what we were striving for: the North Face of Kailash. It seemed we were in the lap of Shiva’s Abode. Each and every one of us was beaming and gleaming with delight, happiness, and gratitude. It seemed we were so close to the holy mountain. After we had parked ourselves and our luggage in the assigned rooms, a few of us got out to climb a small uphill area to have a closer view of Kailash. Some were clicking pictures and others sat chanting and meditating. Along with my sister Nikunj who was also there for the Kailash yatra, after a few pictures to commemorate our victory of the first lap, we sat down to meditate and listened to ‘Shiv Kavacham’. It was indeed an out of the world experience.
Suddenly I heard someone calling out for me fervently. Someone from our group was really sick and I was asked to go and attend to her. I rushed down the hill to reach her room. She was lying on the bed, looking very pale and even cyanosed (bluish discolouration). Her heart was beating very fast and the oxygen levels were very low. After examining her, I was very sure she had suffered an acute insult due to hypoxia. She needed urgent medical care. We were not completely equipped to provide any emergency care except oxygen which I immediately started. Sumeet immediately suggested that another group from a different organisation was having a medical camp and that they would be better equipped. Their location was slightly far and that we had to go downhill and again climb up. He asked me, “Doc, will you be able to manage that?” as I had to go and give the medical jargon to retrieve the equipment and drugs. I immediately said, “Yes”. We had to really go downhill and once I had acquired the things climbing up would have been a challenge especially in that emergency, when the time was of paramount importance. Even today as I write, I don’t know from where I got the energy, strength, stamina, and endurance to keep pace with Sumeet and climb up to reach our halt camp. I gave her the emergency drugs, settled her but she needed immediate evacuation.
That is when I had to be firm and assertive. I declared she needs to go down to be taken to a hospital right now. I had to face a lot of resistance. There were many opinions: many felt she will settle down; healing would help her, she has completed the first day of Parikrama and her journey would be incomplete, and so on. But her physical condition was not good. There were senior members in our group with mixed responses but our dear Mamu said we have to do what the doctor says. Everyone was finally convinced, parallelly, arrangements were made for her transportation. It was getting darker. With assistance, we shifted her to the vehicle and from there she was taken to Darchen and admitted to the hospital. In medical jargon, she was progressing from acute mountain sickness to high altitude pulmonary oedema, which if not timely intervened, can be fatal. She was admitted to the hospital for three days and with medical help and above all Shiva’s grace, she was discharged. That is the time when Mohanji’s words dawned on me, “Be compassionate but not sympathetic. Execute what is correct.” It was not me. It was him who was making me take decisions.
The second day of the Parikrama is supposed to be the toughest. It entails a very steep climb, much rarer oxygen, and greater altitude when we cross the Dolma La Pass. Enveloped in the divine energy, with blessings from the supreme Parabrahma, we reached Dolma La Pass. It was enthralling …. It was unbelievable… only one trick did the magic, ‘Om Namah Shivaya”. Then came a new dilemma! At the Pass, we could see the beautiful emerald green Gauri Kund; the divine water where ‘Maa’ the Shakti used to purify herself. Going to Gaurikund is again a daunting task. We all started contemplating whether we could manage or not. I started remembering Deviji’s experience of her climb and descent to Gaurikund. During her presentation, she had categorically mentioned the climb up after Gaurikund darshan was the most challenging. I doubted myself again. Would I be able to make it? My porter and the pony man both dissuaded me but again some inner voice shouted, “You have reached here. Why will you not go to Gaurikund and have a feel of the nectar?” With the other companions, we reached down and were at the banks of Gaurikund. With the mesmerising view of the green water, divinity at its best, we all washed ourselves with the holy water and carried some in bottles for our group members who could not make it and our families back home.
As I was ascending, the thoughts keep pouring. What I had done to get this reward? Blessings from my ancestors, my family, my patients, and above all, our living Shiva, our Guru. Back at the base camp in the evening after the toughest day, we all felt victorious because what lay ahead for the next day was a cakewalk; the last day of Parikrama – the easiest part. We completed our last leg enjoying, smiling, soaking in the place, collecting memoirs, and finally reached Darchen. Once we were in the hotel, everyone was thanking, appreciating, and encouraging me for the medical help which I could provide by his grace and it only filled me with gratitude. Meeting our friend who had fallen critically ill was most satisfying.
At that moment, I earnestly wanted to meet Mohanji who was waiting behind at the hotel facilitating our yatra, giving all his energy to every member connected to him. We were told he had not consumed any food until the time we were back. He is our Father, Mother, Friend, and Divinity in a living form. I asked Madhu if I could meet him. He fulfills all our desires. I was called. As I reached his room, He was sitting on a chair. I fell at his feet. Tears started rolling down…. His words were, “Doctor, you have done an amazing job.” His words stirred the level of satisfaction and victory which probably was even more than the feelings I got on accomplishing the highest degree of my profession. I reaffirmed, “I did not understand the words you had spoken at Mansarovar till I was cornered to take the major decision.” He knows everything which is going to unfold; every word he utters has immense connotations.
I bow at his feet for taking me to Kailash which is indeed a journey of a lifetime and even more than that to do service in this Holy Land….
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 10th August 2020
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